Domestic, pp.279-283.

[Scottish National Memorials Contents]

   THE BED OF BLACK DOUGLAS. Whilst the Douglases remained Lords of Galloway in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Threave Castle (near Castle-Douglas) was the place of their pride and the engine of their tyranny. 

   After the castle submitted to the arms of James II., some of the moveables became the property of William de Gordon of Lochinvar, the first of that noble family in Galloway, and among them was an antique Bedstead or Buistie of the Black Earl, who was assassinated in the Castle of Stirling. In course of time this curious piece of furniture passed from Lochinvar to the Castle of Kenmure, and from there to Greenlaw, the seat of a collateral branch of that family on the Dee. In the last century it became the property of a minister of the parish of Kelton, afterwards of a blacksmith at Kelton Mill, from whose daughter it was purchased by Mr. William Johnstone of Kirkcudbright, who made a present of it to Mr. Joseph Train. 

   It is said that while the relic cannot be traced back a longer period than about 400 years, still its rude workmanship is indicative of a higher antiquity. The figures are as rudely executed as the effigies on the coin of .Alexander III., but the framework carving by which they are surrounded, and the ornamented panels below, are done in better taste and with greater Ingenuity. This information has been extracted from the MS. records of Mr. Train, the antiquarian friend and correspondent of Sir Walter Scott. 

(1336) Lent by MRS. DRYDEN. 

   ANCIENT OAK CABINET. In the Illustrated News of the World of 29th May 1858, there appeared an engraving of this cabinet, with an article from the pen of Mr. William Bennet, formerly editor of The Glasgow Free Press, from which the following particulars have been taken:- The cabinet is of remarkable origin and interest, and more than fifty years ago came by purchase into the possession of the late Mr. Joseph Train, Lochvale Cottage, Castle-Douglas, Galloway. 

   It owes its origin to one of the Gordons of Earlston, a branch of the noble family of Kenmure and Lochinvar, which, throughout the whole of its history, was always forward in the defence both of civil and religious liberty. They suffered unspeakable hardships and seemed often on the verge of extinction from this cause. 

   At length the heroic head of the family was seized and shut up a prisoner in Blackness Castle, on the Firth of Forth, for eighteen years. It was during this long period that he amused his less serious hours in carving the whole woodwork of this cabinet, which thus not only illustrated his own turn for and ingenuity in such employment, but shows also the state of so very interesting an art in Scotland at the period in question, there being no doubt that, both in design and finish, he wrought from patterns which, if not present in his confinement, were at least familiar to his memory. 

   This precious heirloom remained in possession of the family until at length it came into the hands of the late Sir Alexander Gordon of Greenlaw, near Castle-Douglas, another branch of the Kenmure and Lochinvar family, at whose death it was brought to public sale, and bought by Mr. Train. 

   It is made of black oak of the hardest kind, and some of the carvings are very elaborate and beautiful, being entirely cut out of the solid wood. On the top is the date, ‘1640,’ in raised figures; and beside the coats of arms are the letters ‘J.G.’ and ‘M. C.,’ believed to mean ‘John Gordon,’ head of the house of Earlston mentioned, and his equally heroic spouse, ‘Margaret Campbell,’ descended from the illustrious family of Argyll. 

   Mr. William Macmath supplies the following note regarding the cabinet:- ‘The arms and initials are obviously those of John Gordon of Airds and Earlston and his second wife, Mary Chalmers, daughter of James Chalmers of Gadgirth, Ayrshire, whom he married in 1585. A comparison of the arms of Chalmers of Gadgirth (or Gaitgirth), as figured in Nisbet’s Heraldry, will prove the identity of this lady. The surmise of my honoured friend, Mr. Bennet, as to her name, is thus not borne out by investigation. Alexander Gordon of Earlston, who was for a time confined in Blackness Castle, and was released at the Revolution, was the great-grandson of John Gordon and Mary Chalmers.’ 

(1335) Lent by MRS. DRYDEN. 

   OAK CHAIR, with boldly carved arms and back; top moulded with carved star and initials ‘A. M.’; framed back; the centre panel is carved with scrolls in relief held by label, and also pierced with three stars. 

(1242) Lent by the EARL OF MAR AND KELLIE. 

   CARVED OAK CHAIR, with initials ‘R. G.’ and ‘Æ. H.’ along top rail, and date 1618, in shield in back panel. Top semicircular, with conventional tree carved in relief. 

(1450) Lent by JAMES A. AITKEN. 

   TWO CARVED OAK CHAIRS, from Scottish Royal Palaces. They are chairs of Elizabethan type, with spiral-turned side pillars, and boldly carved leaf-scrolls on rails. The top rail of one is surmounted by a crown. 


   CARVED WOODEN CHRISTENING BOWL, from Culloden, early in the eighteenth century. 

(1438) Lent by THOS. M. CAMPBELL. 

   CARVED OAK ARM-CHAIR, having framed back and semicircular top, on which is the Houstoun arms; initials ‘W. H.’ and ‘M. S.’ of husband and wife, date 1600, and inscription: ‘Fear God and Honour the King’ along the top rail: the centre panel of the back has an arabesque ornament. (See Fig. 197.) 

(1243) Lent by MRS. HOUSTOUN. 

   OLD SCOTTISH ARM-CHAIR, from Neidpath Castle. This chair dates from not later than 1600. It exhibits the characteristic features of the Scottish chairs of this period in its strapwork ornamentation in back-panel and other details. The chair is figured in Mr. Small’s Scottish Wood-Work, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Plate 48. 

(1241) Lent by COUNCILLOR SMALL. 

   OAK ARM-CHAIR, originally from Falkland Palace. In the centre of the back is a square panel, with the monogram ‘H. A.’, and, underneath, the date 1622. 

(1245) Lent by ANDREW HEITON. 

   ARM-CHAIR, having lozenge in centre of back panel, with monogram ‘M. A. B.’ and date 1608. 

(1244) Lent by ANDREW HEITON. 

   FOLDING STALL SEAT, of carved oak, from Dunblane Cathedral. 

(1251) Lent by ANDREW MACGEORGE. 

   THE LAIRD O’ LOGAN’S CHAIR. This chair belonged to Hugh Logan, the last laird of Logan in Ayrshire, who was celebrated for his wit and eccentricity. A collection of Scottish humorous stories, under the title of the Laird of Logan, was published soon after his death in 1802, a work which has since been frequently re-issued. Shortly before the laird died the chair was sent to W. Galbraith, joiner, Old Cumnock, to be repaired, and was kept as payment of a debt due to him by the laird. When Galbraith died the chair went to his brother Andrew, in Ochiltree, in whose family it has remained until the present owner bought it from Marion Calwell, a granddaughter of Andrew Galbraith. 

(1248) Lent by WILLIAM A. WYLIE. 

   SMALL OAK CABINET, bearing the Drummond arms carved in relief on centre drawer, and initials ‘J. D.’ From the collection of the late James Drummond, R.S.A. 

(1450A) Lent by JAMES A. AITKEN. 

   TWO-DOORED PANELLED OAK CABINET, formerly possessed by the ancient (but now extinct) family of the Veres of Stonebyres, Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire. It has two secret drawers. 

(1334) Lent by J. B. DALZELL. 

   RUDE OLD OAK IRON-BOUND CASKET, found in Duddingston Loch. It contained, when found, a quantity of pulped paper. 

(1449) Lent by JAMES A. AITKEN. 

   MILITARY CHEST, the front divided into three panels filled with scroll ornaments, and having along the top band the inscription ‘J. Y., 1679.’ It is traditionally reputed to have belonged to James, Duke of York, brother of King Charles the Second, while in Scotland, and to have come secretly in the eighteenth century to Dumfries from Traquair House. It remained in Dumfries for at least three generations, in the consecutive hereditary possession of the same family. 

(1252) Lent by J. CARMYLE AITKEN. 

   POCKET CASE, containing knife, fork, and silver spoon, mounted in tortoise-shell, the spoon of silver of rat-tail pattern, eighteenth century. 


   KEY, having in the bow the Initials ‘S.P.T.,’ 1673, meant for Sir P. Threipland, first Baronet of Fingask. 

(1422) Lent by W. MURRAY THREIPLAND. 

   A STEEL CASKET, with secret lock – workmanship of fifteenth century. This small safe has a semi-circular top: its surface is in three divisions of studded bands, the panels filled with geometric tracery, with monogram on both sides of the lid. 

(1383) Lent by W. MURRAY THREIPLAND. 

   AN IRON MONEY-BOX, with a secret lock. It is in the form of a casket with a semi-circular top, strengthened with shielded bands of iron; the ends are ornamented with applied scrolls, and there is a massive twisted iron handle on the top. 

(1384) Lent by W. MURRAY THREIPLAND. 

   AN OLD SEWED FAMILY TREE, worked by the wife of the Rev. Patrick Maxwell, minister of Inchinnan, 1722-1744. A Hand-stitched Quilt, date about 1700, and two Table-napkins of Damask Linen, one dated 1718, the other about 1699. 

(1373, 1366, 1365) Lent by the heirs of THOMAS MAXWELL. 

   BRASS ‘GIRNAL LADLE.’ Such an article was part of the bride’s outfit in olden times in Avondale, Lanarkshire. It was used for lifting meal from the ‘girnal,’ a box or barrel for holding the domestic supply of oatmeal. 

(1287) Lent by J. B. DALZELL. 

   A PEWTER CASKET winch belonged in 1600 to William Duncan of Lundie, burgess of Dundee, who was ancestor of Admiral Viscount Duncan and the Earls of Camperdown. The object consists of a pewter globe with a central bulged belt, and was probably connected with a calendar. The globe is engraved with longitudinal lines, between which are inscribed the months with the days in each. It also has the name ‘duncane,’ the initials ‘C.W.D.,’ and the Duncan arms; and on another part the name Wedderburne, initials C.W., and the arms of Wedderburne of Kingennie with date 1600 and initials ‘S.J.S.’ There are slits in the casket, apparently for the admission of money. William Duncan was an eminent physician in Dundee; his wife was Catherine Wedderburne, sister of Sir Alexander Wedderburne of Kingennie. S.J.S. form the initials of Sir James Scrimgeour, Provost of Dundee at the time the box was made. This casket bears considerable likeness to the Dundee Council Pirley Pig (see Fig. 149, p. 206) which also was made about this time (1602), and probably the existence of this private casket led to the making of the other under the authority of Sir James Scrimgeour, whose name occurs on both. See Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., New Series, vol. x. pp. 169-171. 

(1260) Lent by MRS. C. E. MORISON DUNCAN. 

   ANCIENT HORN BOX, made in commemoration of the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. On lid, carved in relief, is the figure of a mounted soldier, with ships in the background. The box was for two centuries in the possession of the MacMurrays of Cultezeoun, in Carrick, Ayrshire, of whom the lender is a descendant. 

(1356) Lent by D. MURRAY LYON. 

   TWO ‘PICTS’ ’ PIPES. Found in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire. The form of pipe used on the first introduction of tobacco late in the sixteenth century. The position in which early pipes have occasionally been found originated a popular conception that they belonged to the primitive inhabitants of the country, whence the names ‘Picts’ Pipes.’ It is scarcely needful to say that there is no trace of the practice of smoking any herb in Europe previous to the discovery of America. 

(1420) Lent by J. B. DALZELL. 

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